Is your dog causing havoc in your backyard by digging under a fence? We’re here to assure you that such an act is far from malicious and could well be related to dog behavior problems rather than just trying to cause problems. So before you think of enrolling your four legged friend in a behavior and training class to teach him not to dig, we’re here to offer a few solutions on how to stop a dog from digging under a fence. Hopefully such acts will be a thing of the past.
But before we can discuss these tips, as dog owners it’s important to understand why your dog keeps burrowing under your fence. You’ll be surprised how by simply addressing some of the causes, you’ll instantly notice a change in behavior.
Why Do Dogs Dig Under Fences?
You obviously can’t have a heart to heart conversation with your dog to determine the cause of such unruly behavior before you can teach your dog to stop. If your dog is digging, it could be anything from separation anxiety to a real lack of mental stimulation and difficult to work out. But thanks to studies and research conducted by behavioral scientists, we’ve managed to come up with a list of possible causes.
Breed of Dog
Earlier on we mentioned how you can get solutions by merely determining the cause. Unfortunately, the breed of your dog isn’t something you can change and that may include the dog’s behavior or natural instinct. It’s in the nature of some dogs to dig all over the place. A good example is that of Terriers; they’re hardwired to search for prey and that includes a lot of digging. Mind you this is true of any terrier—big or small.
While there’s not much you can do to change your terrier’s nature, the best you can do is to erect a tall dog fence. For effective results, we recommend a 6ft high fence.
The younger dogs are generally more active than their older counterparts. If they don’t have other activities to spend their energy on, this can likely result in some digging.
Your Dog is Bored!
If breed and age have nothing to do with it then boredom might be the culprit. In fact, according to recent studies, it’s one of the most common causes of this kind of dog mischief. Because your dog is bored, he or she will start digging simply for entertainment. Watch out for the following scenarios as they’re more than likely to cause boredom:
Are you always leaving your four-legged friend by him or herself especially for long periods? That’s a recipe for disaster. Since your dog has no human company, it might very well see the soil as their next best companion resulting in digging.
Imagine an environment with no toys; no ball whatsoever in the vicinity! To keep itself occupied, your dog is likely to resort to digging.
As you’re aware some forms of behavior are caught not taught, right? Your dog might have caught a glance of you working or digging in your backyard and in his or her mind it sure looks like fun.
Earlier we mentioned how terriers are wired to hunt. But this behavioral tendency isn’t only confined to certain breeds. Most dogs may be digging under a fence in an effort to catch insects.
Trying to Escape
We’re sorry to say but sometimes your dog may be trying to escape. The cause can either be because of an unsafe or unappealing environment. But sometimes they simply want to get something on the other side of the fence and aren’t necessarily trying to run away from you.
3 Ways on How to Stop a Dog From Digging Under a Fence
Keep it Entertained
If your dog is digging because of boredom, you can easily prevent the situation by spending more time with him or her. If you can’t then at least make sure other family members keep it company. A few ideas include:
Walking your dog at least twice a day. Not only is it a good way to bond but a lack of exercise is one of the most common causes of behavior problems in general.
Play with your dog using active toys like balls and flying disks.
Why not praise your dog more? Sometimes a little attention goes a long way. Be generous with your praises and shower your dog with compliments associated with “good dog” behavior.
Create a Safe and Attractive Environment
If your dog is more enticed by what’s happening on the other side of the fence than around its dog house, it’s time to spice up your own environment. Keep a few interesting toys in your yard to keep your dog busy. Remember to rotate them regularly so your dog doesn’t get bored with them.
Not only must the environment be attractive but safe too:
Minimize any loud noises for instance noise from vacuum cleaners. Buy a quiet cleaner if you have to.
You might want to go easy on the yelling while you’re at it. We’re sure you don’t like being yelled at; frankly neither does your dog.
It’s a good idea to identify any objects on the other side of the fence your dog is showing any interest in. By simply removing these objects of interest, you may see a change in behavior.
Make Physical Structures
If all else fails, you can consider installing physical structures that’ll prevent your dog from digging under the fence. Below are a few examples:
You can bury chicken wire at the bottom of the fence but make sure you roll the sharp edges away from the yard as it’ll hurt your dog.
Place a couple of large rocks at the base of the fence. You can partially bury them along the bottom of the fence.
Try burying the base of the fence at least one to two feet below the surface.
You can decide to place a chain-link fencing anchored to the bottom of the fence.
Hopefully by implementing a couple of these recommendations, you’ll prevent your dog from digging under a fence. But whatever you do, make sure you don’t punish your dog for the act as this will only result in fear and resentment. If none of the above work, maybe then you can consider consulting a behavior professional for help.